>> a southern california beach bum. >> it's awesome. >> a preacher in central florida. >> we would give up our freedom. >> pushing people to sign up for food stamps in brooklyn. >> just a hair away from large scale hunger, malnutrition and starvation in america. >> scenes from across an increasingly dependent nation. this is fox news reporting, the great food stamp binge. i'm reporting from the u.s. department of agriculture. why the usda? for historical and political reasons, food stamps fall under
the agriculture department's domain. in fact, food stamps will cost taxpayers a projected $78 billion this year. a staggering amount that's more than double the amount. other food asiftance. according to a just released poll, a majority of voters think most of the 46 million plus food stamp recipients are taking advantage and not truly in need. you heard stories of food stamp waste, fraud, and abuse. this hour we will also look at the cost of the recipients and the american character. during this show, you can share your thoughts via twitter. use #fox news reporting. we begin in new york city where one of the biggest proponents is looking to get more people
signed up. >> individuals have a certain income limitation. >> you are watching a team of determined activists. preparing their plan of action. >> the guidelines have changed. do you feel all set and ready to go? >> they will be walking around the streets of brooklyn. the mission? to sign up as many people as they can for food stamps. the new york city coalition against hunger in action. >> a lot of people don't know they are eligible. >> a former clinton administration official is the executive director. >> we have information for people. >> snap stands for the supplemental nutrition assistant program. >> the new name for the program. >> in 2 understand thousand 8 the federal government dropped the term food stamps. hardly to fight the stigma associated with that term. but most everybody still calls
them food stamps. even people at the coalition. >> you are prescreened and you would like to apply for food stamps. >> they believe folks don't want to go to a government office to find out if they are eligible so his team set up shop at this super market. >> 50% of our customers on a monthly benefits are using snap benefits. >> this is the store manager. >> it's a positive thing for the community. >> another part of the effort to reduce the stigma of food stamps was to get rid of the stamps all together. the government benefit is electronic valley delivered visit e, bt cards. they work like any debit card. food stamp usage has been on the rise since 2000, but it's exploded under president obama. in 2008, 28 million were receiving food stamps. now about 47 million do. big factor was obama's stimulus
package. in addition pumping more money into the program, it made qualifying if are food stamps easier. the president insists increased spending on food stamps in the stimulus bill did indeed stimulate the economy. >> six and you are definitely eligible. >> it literally saves lives. >> we are a hair away from large scale hunger, malnutrition and starvation in america. >> do you believe that? >> no question whatsoever. >> you are just laughing. >> absolutely preposterous. given the fact that only in 20 american adults say they were hungry for even a single day, i think starving is a bit sill. the reality is that american poor people are not malnourished. they eat too much food. >> if joe berg is the great
advocate of food stamps, robert is the great skeptic. >> the hunger advocates are clearly distorting the data and creating a huge mirage of a problem that doesn't really exist. it distracts our attention from the real issues. how you really help the poor rather than making them more dependent on government. >> they denied you because -- >> 80% of people who turn to his coalition for help are ultimately approved. some people never thought they would be eligible. >> i am going to give you my number. my direct extension. my name is denise. she wasn't a waer that she can apply for her daughter. >> you stop and explain food stamps to just about every person on the street? >> yes. >> it could be construed as recruitment. >> we would never ever try to convince someone who didn't want
the benefits to get them. >> this is not just an academic question. recruiting people to go on food stamps is against the rules. as you will see, the usda itself has gone right up to that line. did they cross it? their strategy to get past no. but first, john roberts and the new face of food stamps. a character you won't forget. >> when the safety net becomes a hammock, after the break.
we're cracking down on medicare fraud. the healthcare law gives us powerful tools to fight it... to investigate it... ...prosecute it... and stop criminals. our senior medicare patrol volunteers... are teaching seniors across the country... ...to stop, spot, and report fraud. you can help. guard your medicare card. don't give out your card number over the phone. call to report any suspected fraud. we're cracking down on medicare fraud. let's make medicare stronger
however a larger number believe the government has made it too easy to get assistance and people are taking advantage of that. no doubt in these tough times many people in the united states worry about feeting themselves and their families. america is a generous nation and few deny government help to those who need it. but we also realize every dollar we give to people who should be fenning for themselves is one less dollar we can use for other purposes, including upon heading the truly needy. some people don't seem to are woey about that. john roberts found one in la jolla, california. >> meet jason, food stamp recipient. >> another day in the life of
jason. >> what exactly is the rat? are. >> your typical day, an early morning life later in the afternoon? >> later in the afternoon. >> wake up and go down to the beach and deal with my friends and hit on some chicks. start drinking. >> all day, every day. >> we caught up with him in la jolla, california. close to where he grew up. the 29-year-old has chosen the life of a beach bum this this sea side paradise. with no fixed address, jason has for the last couple of years floated from place to place, staying with family, pals and girls he's dated. >> nice day today though. >> he gets by with a little help from his friends and you, the taxpayer.
>> my ebt snap card with the coast of california on it. >> how do you get a snap card? >> go to the human resource office and have your birth certificate and social security card. i don't got a paycheck so i qualify. >> how often do you have to do this? >> they have it now where you do it once a year. >> things have changed. back in 1996 if you were an able adult like jason with no family, there were limitations. you can get food stamps for three months every three years. the exception is if you were working at least a 20 hour workweek or participated in a training program. president obama wiped away the restrictions when he signed his stimulus bill in 2009. >> there you go. >> in 2010, obama used his regulatory powers to suspend the suspension of the welfare to work requirements.
>> you fill out a form for a snap card, they give thaw for a year, no questions asked in. >> you are good to go. you are golden. $200 of free money. radical. why not? >> this is my job to make sure everything is rolling smoothly. make sure the sun is up and the girls are out. >> how big of a part of your is surfing? is. >> i surf every day. it's wonderful to get away from everything and clear your head and get out with the boys and have a good time. >> living the life. another dull moment. another day in paradise. party at my pad. >> i got the rainbow roll. ahi, salmon, eel, yellow tail with rice and avocado and then add lobster on special.
we got lobster and coconut water. >> jason is off to the automated check out counter. food stamp card at the ready. >> $200 a month and you go boom. just like that. all paid for by our wonderful tax dollars. >> sorry that typically the type of thing you get on the snap card? >> yeah, i usually get sushi, but make it my own way. they didn't have any good fish. i got the premade stuff. >> ebt lobster. >> ebt lobster. anybody want a piece? >> yeah! >> is it to say this notion of holding down a steady job is
just something not in your house? >> that's not the direction i'm going right now. >> not something that appeals to you? >> none whatsoever. >> i have to say i didn't know what to expect when i sat down with jason. i was really taken aback that he seemed unembarrassed about sponging off the rest of us this this manner. this was a guy who struck me as capable of pulling his own weight. as resourceful and even intelligent and went to san diego state for a while and then to a technical school where he trained to become a recording engineer. then he realized what he really wanted in life. >> skating the class and here comes motley crew carrying a bottle of jack and partying. i realized i didn't want to be the guy recording those guys. i want to be the guy being those guys. >> he wanted to be a rock star. >> you decided that was going to be your? a life?
>> yeah. i want to be heard. >> wait until you hear what else jason had to say. >> john roberts returns later, but first food stamps offer a helping hand, but what about people who say thanks, but no thanks? the ill conceived to push food stamps in spanish speaking communities. an expose you may find hard to stomach.
those virtues to expand the food stamp roles? we have a report from florida. >> self reliance has been an integral part of our culture. >> the central florida town after felix ramirez preaches the message of self reliance. >> listen to this. they might end up giving their freedom for freebies. >> you stressed the importance of self reliance and counting on themselves and not having a handout. >> i wanted to remind them of who they were. who we are. self reliance and self respect go together. >> that might explain why pastor ramirez is angered by something he heard from the usda a while back. our story begins in 2008 and ends a few years later and provides a troubling glimpse into how the ah sda under republican and democratic administration is pushing food stamps on groups of people
reluctant to take them. the agriculture department produced a serious of spanish language radio spots. the usda made them available to any radio station that wanted to play them. the united states department of agriculture, usda and supplemental assistance program are proud to present the radio mini series happiness part. enjoy the show while you savor a delicious piece of fresh fruit. let's begin. >> it's like any other soap opera. one whose characters are obsessed with food stamps. each of the ten spots makes a separate point. episode one tries to bust the myth that food stamps are welfare and only the unemployed qualify. >> roberto and i can't seem to make ends meet. >> this is monica. >> it's not that we don't love each other, but we are always fighting over money.
>> she is uk talking to her fri, claudia. >> did roberto find a job? >> not yet and that worries me because of what i earn as a baby-sitter is just not enough. >> apply for snap. >> isn't it like welfare? >> no, snap is a supplemental nutritional assistance program that helps you afford healthy food in difficult times. >> in epicode two she does is it and in episode three she tries to convince a trend to do it. >> i don't think i qualify. i own my house. >> you might. snap is a program that upon hads people. if you don't apply, you never know. >> it's highly offensive. we can count on our own culture to make a success story. >> in episode four he does sign up and urges another friend to do so as well.
she is very reluctant. her name is diana. >> i don't need help from anyone. my husband makes enough to take care of us. >> when are you going to learn? >> this gentlemen better not say that to any of my ladies in this church. the ladies in this church will tell him off. >> diana is the most stubborn, but they wear her down over the next few episodes. in episode five, her daughter is overweight. episode six, suzette comes in last in a swimming race. diana's friends keep up the full court press. >> it doesn't matter if your husband works full time or if you own a car. i was approved and roberto has a job. >> i know. put on your shoes. we are leaving. >> why are you angry. do it for your own health and suzette.
>> it's appalling and insulting. >> christine and her husband own and operate the havana delight restaurant in the central florida town. she recalls hearing happiness park episodes on the radio. >> when you hear this and you recognize that it's aimed at -- >> the hispanics. >> what's your reaction? >> they are calling us stupid. >> episode seven is an eyeopener for the reluctant diana. she goes shopping with monica. >> it's your turn to pay. don't use food stamps in front of everybody. >> there is no stamps. snap gives you a card. >> wow! it looks like a bank card. >> exactly. no one has to know. apply! you can gain. >> that's not why we came to america. we take care of our own without help and get ahead. >> back in happiness park, diana
is not convinced, insisting in the next episode she didn't need help from anyone. everything changes in episode nine which according to the usda production script was written to overcome the barrier of pride. >> hello? yes. what? what happened? what happened? she is crying and she's at the hospital. >> thankfully diana survived. >> i thought it was a heart attack. >> what? >> yes. i felt horrible, but the doctor told me it was indigestion. >> indigestion? >> the doctor scolded me and said i need to lose weight and eat fruits and vegetables. i should have listened to you. what's the program called? >> it's called snap. by the last episode, diana signs up. of course she doesn't know that
contrary to the radio's suggestion that food stamps help her lose weight, the research shows a correlation between snap card use and obesity in non-elderly adult women like diana. >> we actually think unconditional efforts by the best food stamp president in american history to maximize dependency is terrible for the future of this country. >> when the national food stamp binge became an issue in the 2012 presidential campaign, the radio novella series became a news story. an embarrassed usda pulled it from circulation. under the secretary of agriculture admitted the content does not meet the standards of what i consider to be appropriate outreach. it turns out hispanics were not
. >> a food stamp in columbus, ohio. fox news reporting was there. these under cover food stamp investigators say this store let them by alcohol with food stamps. >> state liquor police officer. >> the store was cited for illegal use of a food stamp card though the clerk said she thought she was selling an manager drink. either way in the great food stamp binge, we seem to be hearing these stories more is more. it's another reason why people are puzzled that the usda is trying on so hard to get people
to sign up if are food stamps. one effort was in north carolina where 17% of people get food stamps, double the number of a decade ago. peter said it was efforts to break down mountain pride. >> the music is one of the oldest art forms in america. it tells the story of a god fearing people, remote in unforgiving places like the reaches of ash county, north care loipolin carolina. >> this is not an environment where it's easy to get by. it's tough times here.
>> what kind of folks did this land produce? >> they were fiercely independent and strong in self reliance. >> he is a retired engineer. >> they made do or do without. >> for countless generation, the people made do by growing tobacco. raising cattle on small family ranches and producing lumber from the vast forests that still surround them. >> what do they do when hard times came? >> my daddy got a job logging. >> doug lewis is a retired saw miller. >> he got the boards and he could be giving up, but he didn't do that. the mountain pride took over. >> we heard a lot about the thing called mountain pride. the deeply held belief it's best to do for one's self.
as the federal government sees it, mountain pride is a problem. you see, the government tries to track how many people in an area are eligible for food stamps and how many have signed up for benefits. when a place like ash county stands out with an unexpectedly high number of residents refusing food stamps, a network of social service types from local, state, and federal government and nonprofits too springs into action. >> this money is out there. if you are not taking it, there is something wrong with you. >> that's correct. >> jeff sessions, republican senator from alabama is angry that the government wants to soex people under the food stamp roles. >> the person said i don't want it and i don't need it and you feel it's your obligation to talk them into taking it makes the hair stand up on the back of my neck. they think they should overcome mountain pride. >> here's what happened.
a local social services worker partly funded by a grant said while folks value that, they would accept it to buy seeds they can plant in their gardens. that proved to be the opening everyone was looking for. in just a year, according to the government, food stamp participation jumped 10% in ash county and that was just the beginning. folks became more open to other forms of government aid as well. social worker brandy earned her a trip to the annual american association of snap directions convention where she received the gold hunger champions award from the usda. they applauded the important strategy in counteracting what they described as mountain pride. >> it makes me very angry. >> unbelievable.
it seems to me it's in reverse. you should get an award for the people you get off food stamps and find them a job. >> in the deepest level, the motivation of that drive of the government to encourage people to take benefits they say they don't need. it's a difficult thing to understand. >> the usda. they declined to speak with us. they did send us this 39-page report. >> basically summing the usda's mission. it seems to boil down on some level to put as many eligible americans on the food stamp roles as possible. >> that is exactly the way they plead their mission. they explained it in their do you mean. >> this is a big government that spends a lot of money and a lot goes to prosperous people and tax breaks for vacation homes or folks out in hollywood who buy the fancy electric cars and get a lot of help from the
government. what's wrong with needy folks, poor folks getting their share of government cheese? >> there is nothing wrong with poor people who need help getting help. >> we can always help those who needed help. it has been through the churches and organizations. it all falls through the cracks. these people cannot get food and they needed to feed their children. i think the government should help them. >> you give them money, if it's a question of money and benefits, you can diminish and dull their incentive to work and achieve and rise above difficult circumstances. i think there is a real moral question. >> what was the consequence if mountain pride were broken? >> it's showing up in the workforce. i know one particular saw mill that has two mills and it can't run because it can't get enough help. >> even these days? >> even these days.
restaurants are having problems getting waitresses. people are becoming used to getting something for nothing. >> one brief message to deliver to president obama, what would you say some. >> for those of us who possess the mountain pride, leave us alone. >> coming up, the unintended consequences of government welfare. are we unlearning the lessons of our past. might this 29-year-old be exhibit a. get on twitter during the break and tell us what you
so why are food stamps administered by the usda? turns out in the great depression, the food first stamps aimed to solve two problems. while poor people in cities were going hungry, farmers were growing a surplus of food. so the department of agriculture sold stamps that gave half off produce items farmers couldn't get rid of. that program ended in 1943. among the reasons, surpluses had disappeared. in the 1960s, the johnson administration launched the current food stamp program as part of the war on poverty. it had nothing to do with farm policies, but there was a political advantage to keeping food stamps under the usda.
it made each massive farm bill popular with lawmakers from cities and rural communities alike. in a surprise move however, a group of break away house republicans just scuttled the latest farm bill and want a separate vote on food stamps, hoping to draw attention to what they see as wasteful spending that can make the poor too dependent on government. they were not the first to worry about that. it was on the minds of those who launched the war on poverty. >> the days of the dull in our country are numbered. our american answer to poverty is not to make the poor more secure in their poverty, but to reach down and help them lift themselves. >> it sounded really good at the time too. give a hand up, not a handout. >> at that time charles murray was a 21-year-old history major at harvard.
a liberal policy person coming of age in heady times. >> we were optimistic because we never tried to use government programs to eradicate poverty. it was really, really tough. >> he came to understand how tough a few years later. after earning a ph.d. in political science, he went to work for a washington think tank with a government contract to evaluate the effectiveness of the great society's anti-poverty programs. the groundbreaking research transformed him from a liberal to a libertarian. and helped transform the nation's welfare policy as well. >> was there a eureka moment during your research? >> there was. i came across a source that calculated the rate back to world war ii. the poverty rate was going down even faster before the war on poverty.
that was the amendment i said oh, it's only after the war on poverty with a few years that we stopped making progress. >> it slowed. >> it stopped. >> his landmark 1984 book, losing ground, not only concluded the war failed to help people out of poverty, but it had devastating consequences for an under class stuck in a culture of dependency. >> the findings were controversial. >> very much so. the conventional wisdom. they were by the early 1990s. >> when you can, you must work because welfare should be a second chance, not a way of life. >> by 1996, a republican congress passed and the democratic president signed a welfare reform bill. in the year since, that law has been hailed as a success. helping people get off the welfare roles and gain self respect.
murray thinks america is unlearning many lessons of the recent past. >> food stamps as a specific program is one of the most obvious ways in which the government has reached into american neighborhoods and said it's okay to be dependent. the cost of that is the kind of pride that used to be the hall mark of america. >> that puts murray directly at odds with joel berg who you will remember laments the stigma that surrounds food stamps is making it hard for groups like his to fight the spector of mass hunger in america. >> shouldn't there be at least some stigma? >> not at all. no more than there should be a stigma for a small business person getting a grant or loan or for someone riding their private car or the government paved road. >> we are on opposite sides of the question. i wish people would understand
that if you don't stigmatize one set of behaviors, you can't celebrate another. you can't say of the family that doesn't accept them and that says we will do it on our own, thank you very much, you can't celebrate them. i want the culture to say you guys are wonderful. destigmatizing food stamps make that impossible. >> i totally disagree. >> this representative is a-term democrat from the suburbs of chicago. >> it implies that these low income people are wanting to be free loaders and the federal government is uphelping them. >> do you worry about hurting poor people? are. >> not at all. most people are on the program for less than a year. one out of four american children now gets food stamps. do we want to take food out of the mouths of hungry children? shame on us.
>> i have to smile because otherwise i would erupt. i guess they don't understand that people like me aren't just stingy and don't want to spend money on food stamps. >> someone listening may say the government is making people lazy. >> you know, that's obviously a simplification of what i'm saying. but if you rephrase it slightly, say charles murray said that the government is systematically undermining a civic culture of independence that was a great american treasure. that's pretty accurate. >> so murray, now 70 years old, finds himself back in another fierce battle of ideas. he believes must be won. the latest book, coming apart, says that battle is being fought on new terms. he said what were once the
pathologies of the under class are being abouting the mainstream. >> if you go to any working class neighborhood in the united states and get to talking about the guys around town and their attitude towards work, you will get some cases where guys are trying very hard to get work and unable to do it. the story much more chommonly i he doesn't want a job. i asked murray about jason, that blissfully consent la jolla, california food stamp recipient. >> hooey surfs a lot and doesn't have a job and doesn't want one. he has no problem taking $200 a month from taxpayers. are you surprised we could find someone willing to tell us that? >> doesn't surprise me a bit. >> jason is not an anomaly. >> no, no. he has cousins in every town in america. >> stories like jason's trouble murray. not because of the money wasted.
it's the lies murray believes that are being frittered away. >> that guy is kidding himself. he is passing time as pleasantly as possible right now. that's not what constitutes a satisfying how many an life. the sad thing is that the whole philosophical grounding of the welfare state encourages people to think of life in terms of a picnic. >> as jason would call it, the rad life. he gets the last word after the break. we're cracking down on medicare fraud.
the healthcare law gives us powerful tools to fight it... to investigate it... ...prosecute it... and stop criminals. our senior medicare patrol volunteers... are teaching seniors across the country... ...to stop, spot, and report fraud. you can help. guard your medicare card. don't give out your card number over the phone. call to report any suspected fraud. we're cracking down on medicare fraud. let's make medicare stronger for all of us.
back on jason green. unemployed musician, beach wum. doesn't want to take a regular job with a regular boss. we wondered how fellow americans would feel about helping pay for food stamps for someone like him. turns out according to a fox news poll conducted for the special they have a problem with it. overwhelmingly so. but as john roberts learned jason doesn't understand why. >> you can't have a job? wisdom of 29-year-old jason greenslij in case you didn't catch those learics jason is singing "i ain't got no mf
job. i'd rather be broke steal and rob". >> i have no job living the dream doing your thing. >> living the dream is having no job? >> yeah. >> how is that going for you? >> going great, man, yeah. going really well. >> girls dancing on tables whenever we're playing music an every day thing. $200 from the man. what is up? >> this is the long term plan? >> yeah. the job. >> jason does aspire to something more. his band signed with a record label. it doesn't pay them anything yet but he believes it's the start of something big. >> tell me about the record deal. are you in the studio yet? >> yes. we've been in the studio hopefully fire works start going off. >> where do you see this going? >> to the top, man. to the sky.
>> heaven knows he might make it. or maybe destiny is just the rat life. if so, he's okay with that. especially if you're still willing to make up -- pick up the tab. >> food stamp program designed to be for a point in your life you're, you know, down, things weren't going well. it's not quite a point in your life, it's this is life fr me. >> yes this, is how i live, man. doing my thing. you know? this is the way i want to live. i don't see anything changing. >> it used to be that, you know someone on food stamps it's like hey, they're on food stamps. you know? loser? >> why would it be bad? free food is awesome. >> what would you say to someone looking that the saying you know i'm working hard, paying taxes, so that
jason can live his surfer life style, be in his band and get $200 a month to buy good food? thank you, taxpayers. thanks. >> do you feel guilty about that? >> no. >> rugged individualism. it's a term attempts to capture the american values of hard work, self reliance and pride in pulling your own weight. those values and the legal and political system reward them help explain why america has prospered like no other country. at the same time we're a compassionate and generous people willing to help the poor and feed the hungry. our nation must find harmony in these two values so as not to lose all that made america
all agree on that. thank you so much. have a great night. >> ♪ ♪ anything you can do, i can do better ♪ ♪ john: women get paid less than men. should government force this to change? the government trying to force equality and even in sports. >> one of 10 games the school is cutting. >> are there differences between boys and girls? the battle of the sexes. that is our show